Tournaments and Global Campaigns are nice but what about the “local” scene? We need some League Play Support.
Games Workshop has been doing some really amazing things with the community for the past two years. We’ve seen them crank-up the community engagement with appearances at major Tournaments on both sides of the pond, an active Social Media presence, tons of interaction from local GW stores, and two Global Summer Campaigns under their belt (with lessons learned during both). However, there is one area that I think they could really improve on and that is League Play support.
What Is League Play?
League Play is basically some form of organized or structured play. Most leagues run for a few weeks at a time (4-6 weeks or so). Monthly or bi-monthly seem to be pretty popular. Maybe your FLGS already does this – in fact, for many gamers around the world, they may already do this in their spare time. That’s fantastic! Those groups are usually pretty health gaming groups and the stores they play at are typically fairly stable stores, too. Coincidence? I’ll let you decide.
Anyhow, League Play is not a new concept. Many other manufactures do this already. Privateer Press runs seasonal leagues and events all the time. Fantasy Flight Games does this for pretty much ALL their game systems, both the competative and co-operative games. Some of the manufactures provide free downloads for running leagues and some actually have retailer kits stores can order and use right out of the box.
Recently, Games Workshop has announced a new Campaign Kit that is coming soon – Season of War: Firestorm. The biggest difference between that kit and an Organized Play kit is that Firestorm looks like it’s designed for players to purchase and take with them to run where a OP Kit from say FFG is designed to be run by the FLGS.
Now, I don’t see why a store couldn’t purchase the Firestorm box themselves and use it to host a League or Campaign in their store – in fact, if I were a store and I wanted to help promote playing in my store, I would do just that! But after seeing what GW can do with things like the Monster Week (which was two weeks ago, 100% free, and was the size of a supplement) I’m pretty sure they could spare the staff to create some type of league kit for retailers, too.
Initially, it wouldn’t even need to be super fancy and it could be a way for them to experiment with the game a bit. They have the know-how to create retailer kits for their big events, why not have a league kit that retailers can just order and run right out of the box? They did it with Fate of Konor:
These kits don’t have to impact the overall narrative and they don’t have to be linked to every other store running them. But they would give players a reason to sign-up at a store and keep coming back to play week after week. And nothing motivates me to build and paint new units like knowing I’ll need them for an upcoming game…
Games Workshop could even create different tiers or sizes for the league kits. Ideally, they would also come with different level so exclusive swag for the players to have for playing in them. The “Loot” doesn’t even have to be new models (although that could be pretty cool) or epic prize support – FFG does alternate card art for X-Wing as an example. What if GW did alternate Datacard art for units? Or heck, just fancy oversized Datacards would be cool! They also have all the pins and doodads they could include in the kits – They’ve proven they can do all of these things already.
League Support is good for the stores, good for the players, and ultimately its good for Games Workshop. They don’t need to be massive Globally Organized timed events, they don’t need to be Tournament Exclusive packets – League Support kits can be smaller scale and something a store can order every other month or so – when the league ends.
What do you think about League Play? If your FLGS had a league that had support from GW would you want to give it a shot?